Privacy is a feature: Apple sells more of it


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Read critiques of Siri or iCloud of the iPhone and you’ll see a lot of horse-race comparisons to competing products. Google Now is so much better than Siri! Google gets cloud services! Apple doesn’t! iPhones cost too much!

What you mostly won’t see is any reference to one feature where Apple blows the competition away: privacy.

People like to scoff at such trivial concerns — it is 2017 after all. Wake up and smell the dystopia, Apple nerds. The differences between Apple and the competition are usually hard to see.

Not this week, though!

“Google is nerfing all Home Minis because mine spied on everything I said 24/7.”

Yeah, so some of the review units of their new Home Minis Google sent out were recording everything and sending it to Google because of a hardware defect. Oopsies! OK, this was a mistake and Google reacted quickly to fix it.

But you know what’s not a mistake? This:

“Telemetry: OxygenOS secretly collects user data, sending OnePlus a wealth of information.”

OxygenOS is a customized version of Android used by OnePlus on its smartphones. Christopher Moore has one and he noticed that it was collecting and relaying…

…his serial number, details of mobile networks, phone numbers, MAC addresses and even which apps he was running, when and for how long.

Apple collects data of its own, but not all of that, and it does so anonymously.

Can you imagine how cheap Android phones will be when they figure out how to take a slice of your soul? So cheap.

Android Central couches the collection OnePlus does as being done “for good reason, as it helps OnePlus improve its software and help with customer support should the need arise.”

Oh, sure! It’s so much easier for OnePlus to improve its devices if you just act like a passive meatsack and hand over all of your information to them. Why not just move into OnePlus-supplied corporate housing? Eat OnePlus-supplied congealed digestible gelatine substitute for breakfast, lunch and dinner? That way they can better help you should the need arise.

It’s always possible that someday management at Apple will change and a few months later the company will issue a series of software updates and, boom, it’ll be sucking up your data like the kids these days suck up. Presumably something they really like, whatever that is.

Validation? Seems like kids always like validation.

But for now, Apple’s record on privacy is head and shoulders above the rest. It wouldn’t let Google get access to more data through Maps. It won’t use more of you data to make Siri better. It refused to unlock a terrorist’s phone.

Whether you’re personally concerned about privacy or not (the Macalope is), you still need to consider it as a feature. Apple sells this feature; it’s part of its marketing and how it differentiates its products from those of its competitors. Android has its own benefits from hardware choice to price to a virtual assistant that’s a little better because it has access to more of your information. That’s also a cost. Any review that doesn’t mention this simply isn’t complete.

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